Throughout the Dota 2 landscape, there have been certain heroes that outperform others by quite a wide margin. This is due to the rapidly changing meta that keeps the game fresh. One of those heroes recently brought back to the spotlight is Ursa.
Ulfsaar, the Ursa Warrior is an Agility hero, most commonly played in the carry position. The hero has been a popular pick since he was first introduced in Dota 2, and after Patch 7.31, his popularity has only been increasing. This is partly due to his burst-damage type playstyle, where his abilities allow him to catch up to heroes and slow them down while stacking consecutively more damage per hit, resulting in a speedy death for his unfortunate victims.
Ursa’s skillset also makes him a fast Roshan killer, which has only become more of an important objective since Aghanim’s Shards were introduced to the game. What makes this hero so powerful in the right hands is his skillset as well as an appropriate build that synergizes with it.
Ursa has access to four skills, including three actives and one passive skill. These are what the skills can do:
- Earthshock (Default hotkey: Q) – This skill lets Ursa leap a few units of distance ahead, dealing damage and slowing all enemy units caught in its AoE. The damage might not be the greatest, but its greatest asset is the AoE slow, which is a whopping 40 percent, lasting for four seconds. This ability is great for gap closing and chasing, as well as scaling impassable terrain if timed right.
- Overpower (Default hotkey: W) – This skill is one-half of Ursa’s burst damage potential. Upon activation, Overpower buffs Ursa with a consistent +400 attack speed for the next six attacks. This skill, in conjunction with his passive ability, is what shreds low HP and low armor targets with ease. As long as Ursa can consistently stay on his opponents, there is little that can be done to stop him.
- Fury Swipes (Passive) – This skill is the other half of Ursa’s burst damage potential. Fury Swipes is a passive that activates when Ursa hits a non-building target, with each hit stacking additional damage upon the target. With every consecutive hit, Ursa builds up more damage on the target, further amplified by his Overpower, which allows him to get a quick burst of six attacks, each dealing more damage than the last.
- Enrage (Default hotkey: R) – This is Ursa’s ultimate skill. Enrage allows Ursa to shrug off most damage when activated, providing him with an unprecedented 80 percent damage reduction from all sources of damage while Enrage is active. Additionally, Ursa gains 50 percent status resistance, making any form of disable or DoT skill used on him last for 50 percent less duration. Enrage lasts for a total of four seconds, dispelling any existing debuffs on Ursa, making it usable in clutch situations to get out and fight back.
With hero skills getting buffed and nerfed during different patches, there have been a variety of ways to skill up Ursa’s abilities. As of Patch 7.31b, the most commonly followed skill build, used and agreed upon by a majority of the pro and pub players unanimously, is leveling up and maxing out his Fury Swipes by level seven, with a value point each in Overpower and Earthshock. This ensures a consistent damage output and early fighting capabilities with minimal items.
Following this, players generally favor maxing out Overpower next, providing them with even more burst damage and Roshan killing potential before the mid-game spike occurs. Earthshock is maxed out last due to the lackluster damage scaling and a 25 percent slow is generally enough to kill targets with low movement speed in the first 20 to 25 minutes of the game. Enrage is skilled up whenever possible, at levels six, 12, and 18.
In terms of talents, Ursa has quite a varied and viable tree to work with:
- Level 10: +1.75 Mana Regen or +20s Fury Swipes Reset Time
- Level 15: +350 Health or +10 Agility
- Level 20: +12 Fury Swipes Damage or +15 percent Enrage Status Resistance
- Level 25: +three Overpower Attacks or -three seconds Earthshock Cooldown
Breaking it down, the level 10 talent choice has shown better success rates for the +20s Fury Swipes Reset Time because it helps Ursa keep his damage stacks on enemies for longer, while the mana regen can simply be provided by items.
The level 15 talent choice is a matter of preference. If Ursa dies to spells too quickly, health would be advisable. If Ursa has to deal with a lot of physical damage, agility would be the better choice because it increases armor. Since Ursa is also an agility hero, this talent provides him with damage as well as armor.
When it comes to the level 20 talent choice, it varies based on whether Ursa needs to do more damage or power through more disables in that match. The Fury Swipes damage talent is purely offensive, allowing Ursa to mow down targets with greater ease, while the Enrage status resistance lets Ursa shrug off disables much faster with a total of 65 percent status resistance.
Finally getting to the level 25 talent choice, either one can be incredibly strong on a late-game Ursa. The additional Overpower attacks make for a scary Ursine, allowing him to annihilate even most late-game carries with overwhelming force. If Ursa’s targets are simply faster than him and more mobile in general, a lower cooldown on Earthshock will help him close the gap faster, making for a very dead enemy that was unfortunate enough to be caught in the crosshairs of the Ursa Warrior.
Ursa does not require as many items as most late-game heroes do to be a successful carry for his team. The items that Ursa needs can vary from mobility items to damage items or survival items. Here, we break it down into the various stages of the game.
- Quelling Blade: This is almost a must-have for any carry. It enables easier last-hitting of creeps along with the highly underrated Tree Chop ability that opens up more possibilities of ambushes along with escape routes by clearing trees.
- Ironwood Branch: A few of these go a long way. They provide one of each stat and can either be combined into a Magic Wand or just consumed with Tangoes for extra regen during the laning phase.
- Slippers of Agility: This provides good starting agility for damage and armor. They can be made into Wraith Bands for even more stats. As of Patch 7.31, these stats double after the 25th minute.
- Consumables (Tangoes/Healing Salves): These are absolutely essential for sustaining against the enemies’ constant harassment, but aren’t as necessary if Ursa is paired with a healer-type support hero.
Buying a combination of any of these items would ensure a sustainable lane until further items are acquired.
- Boots of Speed: This is the most essential item for any hero. It provides a flat increase in movement speed, essential for catching fleeing enemies or evading pursuers.
- Magic Wand: This is a natural upgrade to the Ironwood Branches in combination with a Magic Stick. It provides stats as well as a source of HP and mana regen, with more resources replenished the more charges it has, up to a maximum of 20 charges. One charge is obtained whenever an enemy casts a spell nearby.
- Wraith Band: A couple of these ensure a good early game. They provide great stats like HP, armor, mana, and damage.
- Orb of Venom: An item that applies a slow debuff on any enemy that Ursa hits. It’s perfect for chasing an enemy down in conjunction with Earthshock.
- Morbid Mask: An item that provides lifesteal equivalent to a certain percentage of Ursa’s damage per hit, restoring his HP.
These items should net Ursa a lot of early kills if paired with an aggressive support, preferably a hero with at least one disable.
- Phase Boots: One of the various upgrades to Boots of Speed. This upgrade is the perfect one for Ursa, providing a burst of movement speed to chase or escape. The movement speed provided during the burst is phased, allowing Ursa to run through other units.
- Orb of Corrosion: This item brings the slow from the Orb of Venom and adds in the armor reduction from the Blight Stone with added HP from the Fluffy Hat to make one beast of an early-game item that’s perfect on Ursa.
- Blink Dagger: The best initiation item in the game. This item allows for short-range teleportation 1,200 units ahead. For Ursa, this means he can dive those annoying backline supports that keep him disabled. This item along with the Black King Bar makes Ursa almost impossible to escape from.
- Diffusal Blade: As of Patch 7.31b, this is the best Ursa item. It provides a lot of armor, damage, and a fair amount of intelligence, increasing Ursa’s low mana pool. The active ability Inhibit slows the target down to a crawl for Ursa to rend apart, while the passive mana burn combined with Ursa’s Overpower absolutely destroys heroes with smaller mana pools.
- Black King Bar: The perfect counter to all of those pesky disablers that want to stop Ursa from wreaking havoc. Providing six to nine seconds of spell immunity, getting progressively lesser with each use, this item is essential for any hero that needs to stay in the fight for as long as possible.
- Skull Basher: A perfect item coupled with Ursa’s high attack speed. This item has a chance to stun enemies with every hit. That chance only increases with an attack speed increase, of which Ursa has plenty—six of them, in fact.
The core items listed here are perfect to have by the mid game. If these items can be acquired within 30 minutes of game time, victory is almost assured.
- Abyssal Blade: The natural progression item from Skull Basher. Abyssal Blade provides a guaranteed stun upon activation, which is great for stopping channeling spells, including town portal scrolls or even bashing a hero to death since the Abyssal Blade retains the passive Bash ability from the Skull Basher as well.
- Swift Blink: One of three upgrades to the Blink Dagger, the Swift Blink retains the short-range teleportation ability of the original Blink Dagger, while providing a burst of movement speed, attack speed, and damage at the destination of the Blink. Combined with an Eaglesong, this also provides a hoard of Agility for Ursa to work with.
- Satanic: An upgrade to the Morbid Mask, providing even more lifesteal, a massive HP pool, and the active Unholy Rage that dispels basic debuffs on Ursa upon activation while also increasing the lifesteal to 200 percent per hit, basically ensuring a second life.
If the game tends to go over 40 to 45 minutes, these items will ensure that Ursa stays up to par with the enemy carry and scales incredibly well.
- Aghanim’s Scepter: This item upgrades Ursa’s Enrage by increasing its duration, reducing its cooldown, and allowing it to be cast while Ursa is disabled, providing some great clutch plays if the enemy tends to chain-disable him.
- Aghanim’s Shard: This item allows Ursa to automatically cast Enrage for 1.5 seconds each time he uses Earthshock. It’s great for providing a source of constant dispel and status resistance throughout a long chase. It can be acquired by killing Roshan twice as well.
- Battle Fury: The best farming item for Ursa. Although this current meta revolves around fighting, some matches can be quite slow. This item accelerates Ursa’s farm and lets him acquire other items faster than he would without it.
- Sange & Yasha: This item provides even more status resistance and movement speed, allowing Ursa to be a constantly mobile menace. It also amplifies all sources of his innate regen and lifesteal.
- Nullifier: This provides high damage, good armor, and an active ability that constantly dispels the target, making sure their escape items and abilities do not work as intended.
- Monkey King Bar: This is perfect against heroes with high evasion, allowing Ursa to hit more consistently and take down these targets faster.
- Eye of Skadi: This item provides a heap of all three stats to work with along with a passive that both slows on every hit as well as reduces the enemies’ innate regeneration. It’s perfect against heroes that rely on their high HP regen and lifesteal.
- Assault Cuirass: Ideally, the offlaner would make this item, but if not, Ursa is a solid wielder of the Assault Cuirass. This item is great against heroes with high physical damage, negating a huge portion of it for both Ursa and his teammates.
These items are not a must-have in every match, but they can be absolutely game-breaking against certain lineups.
As it stands, Ursa is one of the top-ranked carries of this current patch. Have fun experimenting with this hero as much as possible.